Small school success: Two small-school offensive line prospects have made themselves known this week at the Senior Bowl. Wisconsin-Whitewater interior lineman Quinn Meinerz isn't hard to spot. He's the one with the rolled up jersey and belly out. He's also been one of the most consistent players here all week. The other for me is North Dakota State's Dillon Radunz. Both guys were really good again Thursday, capping off a strong overall week of practice.
Injury report: Both teams had a number of players sit out practice Thursday, which is a shame considering it was the last day of practices to try and impress NFL talent evaluators. Among those sitting out were: DT Levi Onwuzurike (Washington), WR D'Wayne Eskridge (Western Michigan), RB Trey Sermon (Ohio State), DL Marvin Wilson (Florida State), OL Landon Dickerson (Alabama), OL Ben Cleveland (Georgia), DL Malik Herring (Georgia), LB Charles Snowden (Virginia), CB Rodarius Williams (Oklahoma State), WR Sage Surratt (Wake Forest), LB Chazz Surratt (North Carolina), CB Robert Rochell (Central Arkansas), LB Monty Rice (Georgia) and OL D'Ante Smith (East Carolina).
Escaping the pocket: Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book threw for 2,830 yards with 15 touchdowns and just three interceptions this past season, but he also rushed for 485 yards and nine touchdowns. His ability to make plays with his feet is a good asset for him, and he showed it off Thursday finishing a team period. Book dropped back and couldn't find a receiver, so he tucked it and found a huge hole up the middle for a big gain.
NFL evaluators are more interested in what Book shows as a passer this week, and he showed some of that with a great TD pass to TE John Bates in a red-zone period Thursday, but they can't forget about the 1,031 yards and 13 touchdowns he's rushed for the last couple seasons either. Book had a few nice scrambles Thursday, including a touchdown.
Single blocks: Wake Forest edge rusher Carlos Basham Jr. is one of the better pass rushers down here in Mobile. He's probably enjoyed the fact that he's seen a lot of single blocks this week. He was double teamed a lot this season for the Demon Deacons. He's been disruptive this week – including Thursday's American Team practice – in both one-on-one drills and teams periods with the chance to work on a single blocker.
Finding the ball: A player who kept catching my eye in team periods Thursday was Ohio State linebacker Tuf Borland. He seemed to be around the ball all afternoon, especially in the run game.
First man out: The National Team practice finished about 20 minutes early Thursday, so there was a bit of a lull before the start of the American Team practice scheduled to start at 2 p.m. The first player out on the field for the American team about 15 minutes early was Alabama quarterback Mac Jones to start warming up on his own.
Two minute: The American Team started practice with some competitive two-minute situations. The offense had the ball at their own 38-yard line with 55 seconds left, needing a touchdown and two-point conversion. How did it go for the three quarterbacks?
Jones got the offense down to around the 20-yard line, but couldn't punch it in from there. Texas A&M's Kellen Mond hit UAB receiver Austin Watkins Jr. for a 15-yard touchdown and converted the two-point conversion on a pass to Louisiana running back Elijah Mitchell. Georgia QB Jamie Newman was picked off by Central Florida safety Richie Grant on the third play of the drill.
Receivers to keep an eye on: Florida's Kadarius Toney had a nice week down here. He's quick with terrific speed. I also thought Tennessee's Josh Palmer had a good week. Terrific body control and catch radius with a knack for gaining separation.